Community Excellence and Business Excellence
In all industries the bedrock of any particular business/region/division/office/group is the community that surrounds it. For companies that are contained in a single office, in a single location, this is even more important, because the wellbeing of the business is not diversified across several offices in other communities. In this article we discuss the ways in which businesses and communities support each other and why developing stronger communities is central to Paradigm2’s business development strategy.
Increasing the Health of the Community
A business’s ability to produce any good or service depends on the ability of its community to provide basic services, which a business contributes to with its taxes. The most basic provisions such as the basic education of one’s employees and the roads or public transit that one relies on to get to work on time are provided for by the community’s tax base. We encourage businesses to get out of the mindset of begrudging this yearly fiduciary obligation and to instead take pride in the taxes they provide for their community. Taxes represent both an investment in the community and an opportunity for individuals and business to participate in the way the community operates. Taking this a step further, we encourage small and large businesses alike to pay attention to how basic services are provided in their communities, and thereby how their taxes are spent in the community. A failure of basic services is a detriment to any business’s productivity and potential, and as an investor the business has a vested interest in working toward a solution, whether that takes the form of lobbying for change or offering the business’s time or expertise toward a solution. If one chooses to participate, the process is reciprocal; if the community can effectively provide basic services that augment one’s business potential, and one’s business efforts are supportive of the community in turn, the community can continue to provide or improve the services that support local businesses.
Keeping Profits Maximally Within the Community
Beyond basic services the community’s businesses can also support each other by reinvesting in one another’s businesses. The aphorism that a rising tide floats all boats is applicable here — the more wealth that stays in the community, the wealthier the community will be; and, this is not a simplistic tautology. In B2C exchanges we encourage individuals to purchase goods and services locally whenever possible and in B2B exchanges we encourage businesses to offer their goods or services at a lowered margin. Generally speaking, helping one’s business neighbors thrive makes for a more attractive and sustainable business environment, which applies for everyday purchases as well as larger investments. This process, too, is reciprocal because businesses whose profits live within the community are the same businesses who will most directly reinvest in the community on a regular basis. This is not to say corporations do not reinvest in their various communities. They do; however, their process of reinvestment often involves several degrees of separation from the community, its residents, and their respective needs. Assuming that everything else is equal, direct investment tends to be better for the community because it is more responsive and more supportive of specific community needs.
Locating and Sourcing Specific Needs
In addition to recognizing reciprocal investment cycles, businesses can proactively seek to better understand their respective communities. To do this a business often times only goes as far as joining a local chamber of commerce, hoping the chamber will do the rest of the work. While this is a good first step we encourage businesses to take an inventory of the community’s needs and skills. This inventory might first comprise a review of the businesses that directly relate to one’s own industry and a review of the markets that one’s industry directly serves; over time as contacts are made within the community this inventory will expand. This inventory is an invaluable business development tool. A business can wield great power in its community by knowing who is positioned to solve any given problem or who can augment the imagined solution. Additionally, by gathering this intelligence a business is afforded the ability to take more informed actions regarding the tax base and regarding support for fellow businesses.
Image and Summary
A community’s image is the best summary of the health of the community. Ask yourself: are the business’s employees proud community members? Are prospective employees considering the great community they could be moving into? Or, is it the converse?
For a business the health of a community can be a liability, a baseline, or a rarefied positive quality; and it is important to keep in mind that the health of the community is not a static fact, and instead, is something a business can actively participate in.
At Paradigm2 we take our commitments to community seriously. We strive to support our community both in the excellent work we produce and in the businesses we choose to patronize. We are active citizens within our community and strive to improve the image of our community.
If you would like to participate in this conversation or would like to know how Paradigm2 can help your business please contact us.